Thursday, July 14, 2005

I Respond to an Objection

On another blog that I ran across recently, I left a couple of comments in the comments section regarding the treatment of Karl Rove by those that I categorize as "liberals"
Apparently one of the commentators there took offense to my use of that word, visited my blog, and left the following comment:

Mark,

Thought I would come across the aisle and deliver this note I left in Crawford's space. (By the way, I'm very sorry your having a bad time with your family situation and the government).

My last word on this page. Mark Manness(sic), I believe in freedom of speech. I think you can see that all of us here do, with all the great debate we have. You are welcome as the Champion of the Republican party, because it does encourage great thought for both sides of the issues.

I would just ask that you stop using the word "Liberal" like it's a dirty word and as a dirty label to put us all in a box we don't deserve. Every time I see the usage of Liberal from a conservative to make a point, I see hatred and prejudice emanating from the label. It's unmistakable. Your use of "Liberal" reminds me of other nasty labels to box in human beings in History.

I'm asking you to think about this and make a change at least here, where we welcome your opinion.

Here is my response:

Sheila, I don't hate anyone. I have noticed, though, that the preponderance of namec-calling and hateful comments appear to come much more often from those who I call Liberals than conservatives. What do you prefer to be called? And how does being called liberal compare to some of the things that the "whatever you want to be calleds" call George W. Bush and Cheney and Karl Rove etc? You might want to check out my post dated July 12, and entitled "slanderous statements" where I have responded, respectfully, to the slanders that I have read on both Crawfords blog and my own. Didn't you yourself call some conservative a "twerp"?

You might have noticed unless you were focused on me calling liberals liberals that I never call people names or attack them personally, unlike Bruiser, who continually mounts personal attacks, innuendos, and indulges in name calling shamelessly. He is right proud of being called a liberal. You might notice. Also, that I choose not to respond to him or anyone like him, but I do allow him to post on here. I do not delete his statements, no matter how unfounded and inane they are, because I too, believe in freedom of speech. As I often say, You have the right to say what you want. You also have the right to be wrong.

You say, "Every time I see the usage of Liberal from a conservative to make a point, I see hatred and prejudice emanating from the label. It's unmistakable." I don't intend to place a negative connotation on the word, but perhaps I should object to your use of the word conservative in the connotation in which you used it.

I really don't know what else to label you. I perceive that your own ideology is decidedly liberal so unless you can suggest a more appropriate word, I am afraid I will have to continue to use the word liberal. The word Moderate doesn't go far enough to the left to apply.

Why wouldn't you be proud of the label anyway? I am proud of being a conservative. When Karl Rove made the statements that liberals wanted to understand the terrorists, most of the Democrats instantly objected. He didn't say the Democrats were liberals, but judging from their reaction to his statement, they consider themselves liberal, so I really don't understand why it offends you.

Interestingly enough, my friend, ER, who is a proud Democrat, often objects to being labeled a liberal too, but sometimes he doesn't seem to mind it. I guess he believes himself to be liberal on some things, but not on all of them.

I actually don't consider myself a Republican, so much as independent. When I think Republicans are mistaken I say so. Peruse my Blog, and you will find posts where I have objected to some comments made by conservative talk show hosts, such as Sean Hannity and Rush Limbaugh. And In fact, I was going to make this post about the issue I have with Laura Ingraham. But I chose to respond to you instead. You should feel special. Laura has been bumped for you.

17 comments:

Erudite Redneck said...

Re, "I guess he believes himself to be liberal on some things, but not on all of them."

Exactly.

But the difference, I think, and the reason that you don't see how the blanket label of "liberal" torques some of us off, is that there is probably no circumstance or issue on which you would object to being called "conservative.'

Get the difference? To me, "liberal" describes particular stances; to you, "conservative" seems to describe your whole world view, so you would never reject the label.

--ER

Mark said...

I think you're right, ER.

Mark said...

Well, as I say, I don't know what else to call them, especially when they behave like liberals.

Marisa said...

Hi Mark-- just visiting from over at Crawford's blog to see what you had to say to Sheila. I'm not sure what got Sheila's dander up as I didn't notice anything particularly irritating about what you said (save that we disagree about Rove).

In any case, I do have some thoughts to add to this discussion, if I may, as a liberal, offer my perspective.

I don't have a problem being called a liberal because I do, in fact, often hold a liberal point of view and tend to identify with liberal values. However, there are times where I get annoyed, or shall I say offended, at the use of the term "liberal" when coming from someone that I suspect is conservative (or republican):

1) when it is clear to me that the use of the word "liberal" was intended to be hurled as an insult and not just used as a descriptive term.

2) When the use of the term "liberal" is used to dismiss or reject out of hand an otherwise completely valid point.

It has been suggested, for example, several times on Crawford's blog that those who think Rove did something wrong or illegal are just "liberals" and should be dismissed. I find that somewhat offensive given that the reason I have a problem with the Rove/Plame situation is that I care a lot about national security and happen to think the media is slightly out of control (neither of which are generally considered liberal issues).

In any case, I think the problem you might be running in to is that liberals don't mind being called liberals, they just aren't interested in having the word hurled at them as an insult. just because the word liberal isn't generally an offensive word doesn't mean it can't be used in an offensive way.

Poison Pero said...

I don't like the term Liberal (with a big L) either........I much prefer Leftist.

Conservatives are the real liberals (with a little l).

Unfortunately, most either don't know the difference, or don't have a clue at all and just follow the crowd they've been following since birth (Right or Left).

Mark said...

I used to be a Liberal, but there are things that caused me to question my beliefs. Living in a Ghetto for 5 years was an eye opening experience and from that i learned that taxing more and more to give to people who abuse it and then complain that they aren't getting enough is enough to turn my stomach. That's one. then there's abortion. Never any reason to kill babies. The fruitless efforts to end poverty and the drug problem with social programs doesn't work. Neither does trying to reason with murderous terrorists that have only the annilation of anyone that isn't muslim. And there's so many more reasons I changed allegiancies. add to all that the fact that non conservatives don't seem to have a better solution than what the conservatives have but still feel the need to complain and play the blame game..... ok I'm gonna shut up now

MadMustard said...

Mark

First off, I obviously offended you by a statement that I made on a post at Crawford’s List. Please accept my apology; I should have not made that remark about President Bush. The rule of thumb should be, wait an hour, review and edit before you hit the send button. I am sorry.

My disagreements with the president and his administration are really my perceptions of their lack of competence not intelligence. In 2000 I had hopes for this administration because they brought some heavy hitters to the government departments. After 9/11 I felt sure they would protect our interests and act prudently. My unease began with the run-up to the Iraq war and my faith in them has steadily diminished ever since.

I am an Independent, fiscal conservative and social moderate. You do not have to be a liberal to oppose a Republican or a right-winger to oppose a Democrat. I have done both. I vote for those candidates who more closely match my moderate centrist positions.

I do enjoy reading blogs from both the left and right and there are even a few in the middle, just not as many. As far as ‘hate speech’ goes, I have seen a goodly amount from both sides of the political spectrum and it ain’t pretty.

You do host a good blog and I would like to return if I may.

Mark said...

No one needs my permission to visit my place. All are welcome. I do have one rule about comments though. No, 2 rules:
1. Try very hard not to swear. I like to think my mother reads my blog.
2. If your comment is going to be a personal attack against me or anyone else, or if it contains hateful innuendo and/or name calling, I will not delete it, but I will ignore it, and not respond.
After all, it is a free country and we are all civilized human beings. Well, most of us anyway.

Erudite Redneck said...

The L-word is sort of like the N-word, ain't it? I mean, a black rapper in a song can throw around the word, but say some 80-year-old white guy from Mississippii who has a lifetime of habits to overcome says it, all hell breaks loose.

Same with the R-word. Another redneck can call me a redneck and that's one thing; any friend who gets what I mean by it, or just accepts that I use it to describe some of my ways, fine; but let some damn pinko-urban-latte-sipping-Hollywood-worshipping-pointy-headed-UN-first-peacenik-neo-hippy-lefty-freak call me a redneck, and well, s/he's probably fixin' to get an ass-whupping. (Sorry Mama Maness).

I mean, there is the proverbial line down the middle -- mainly of issues, but I acknowledge there is a swiggly line that measures off left and right. I am just a smidgen to the left of it. I can shake hands with people who are just to the right of it. And sometimes we trade places.

But if I have to declare where I stand, it's just to the left of the line. But that don't mean I'm a leftist, really, not in the sense that most people mean it, any more than a standard-issue country club Republican is a right-winger.

I am, however, a Democrat. A conservative Democrat -- which confuses the labels all over again.

For more information on what THAT means go to http://eruditeredneck.blogspot.com/2005/05/conservative-democrat.html at my place, from May 15. That'll explain it.

MadMustard said...

You nailed it ER. You've got it exactly right. It is the context of comments that offend us more than the comments themselves. You can more easily accept criticisms from your friends than you would ever tolerate from a stranger. It’s human nature.

I have witnessed this spectacle at many of the blogs I have visited. People will talk past each other, never considering the arguments but only responding to the insults. It soon becomes an all CAPS name-calling match that will make you wonder why you wanted to visit the site, in the first place.

ER, I have read enough of your posts and those of Mark to know that you guys are different. You guys are okay.

Erudite Redneck said...

Madmustard, thank you.

Come over to my place sometime! It's ... different ... ;-)

tugboatcapn said...

I can think of a few names to call them, Mark, but I don't think they would like these names any better than "Liberal"...

tugboatcapn said...

Except for you, ER. You are not actually a "Liberal" as I define the word.
You are a "Left Leaning Person."
I mean it as a compliment...

Erudite Redneck said...

LOL. Tug, I'll accept that!

The WordSmith from Nantucket said...

I've only skimmed these posts, so my apologies if I speak what's already been mentioned or dealt about.

I, myself, get confused with labels and I don't think everyone is in total agreement with the definitions of the labels...which is part of the problem. For some, there is no distinction between liberal and Democrat...or liberal and leftist. For others, the difference is glaring.

Tammy Bruce calls herself a classical liberal (or classic liberal)....Zell Miller will call himself a JFK and Roosevelt Democrat; then there are neo-conservatives...South Park Republicans...and so on.

As far as taking offense to being labeled, what people must also understand is that by being called liberal or conservative or Democrat or Republican, is that they have to acknowledge and appreciate the positions and ideologies that those groups are identified with. They should not be dirty words...simply words to be able to categorize and classify so that we can communicate with one another. You might be a liberal, but have to acknowledge that what you feel like you are being attacked on IS a liberal position....or something reflective of the general consensus of the liberal ideology.

This goes for the conservative label as well. I hear "religious right" all the time, like it's a dirty word. I have to acknowledge that there are several positions taken by conservatives that do have its influence from religion; even though I am not a religious conservative.

And of course, with all this said, no one will ever fit into one neat tidy category to deal with all of our various quirks and varying degrees of beliefs. We are a mixture of many thoughts and feelings and ideals. But it is helpful to use labels and be identified with labels, so long as we also understand their limitations and fallacies.

Mark said...

Dang! You bucking for a pulitzer, Wordsmith?

tugboatcapn said...

Wordsmith, How about the "Christian" accusation with which we are constantly being hammered?
No more vile a curse can the left hurl at you than that, even though it doesn't seem really that bad to me.
I love it when I get called a "Christian Right Wing Conservative." I think that pretty much sums me up...